Redbourne Group senior leadership share their journey and ambitions as they gear up for a period of growth
When Stephen Menhinnitt, Founder of the Redbourne Group was managing the first Australian Government childcare hotline service, he saw opportunities to build a flexible, secure and accurate childcare management software (CCMS) platform for the Australian market.
Fast forward 20 years, and the Redbourne Group software brands are synonymous with reliability, affordability and secure processing of highly valuable and complex data.
The Sector recently met with Mr Menhinnitt and Melissa Hurley, Child Care Manager for Redbourne, to learn more about the journey and what the future may hold.
Stephen and Melissa, could you each share a bit about yourselves with our readers?
“My professional experience is diverse from large corporate organisations to private business. After starting my career at Colgate Palmolive and Australian Consolidated Press, I have worked in senior management positions in Telstra, Mayne Nickless and Chubb Security,” Stephen said.
“I would say the recurring theme in my business life is customer service, great products and an excellent team of people.”
“Redbourne Group started in 2000. We have many long-serving employees at Redbourne Group who experienced all the changes in the early childhood sector as well as worked as childcare directors, family day care educators and coordinators. We also work in the health and community sectors and have software and service contracts with Queensland Health and Queensland Police,” he added.
“My background is in hospitality and accounting, all my roles focussed on delivering high customer service standards and managing business needs. I was the Personal Assistant to the General Manager of Great Keppel Island Resort which showed me how a diverse team is managed.” Melissa said.
Having also held roles as a Bookkeeper and Payroll Administrator in various organisations, and in recent years in the childcare sector, Melissa enjoys working for companies with long term visions which are client focussed.
“At Redbourne Group I liaise with the Department of Education, Skills and Training as well as peak early childhood and care associations and services to find out their specific needs, to help improve our childcare management software.”
“As Child Care Manager l get the best of both worlds.”
“I manage a large team supporting multi-site and independent childcare operators as well as working with a creative development team to create new modules for our software,” she said.
Stephen could you tell us about Redbourne Group’s journey into the early childhood education and care sector?
“Yes, of course Jason. In the early days of ECEC, the Redbourne Group managed the contract for the Australian Government’s Childcare Access Hotline. It was an exciting and challenging time, we learnt everything we needed to know, and more about the childcare industry.”
“The ECEC sector regulations are complex, so I could see how paper, fax and phone hotline systems could be simplified and streamlined with a secure software program,” he added, “that’s why Child Care Central Software was created.”
“We launched our childcare business in 2007 and we were the first web-based childcare management subsidy registered CCMS software in Australia.”
I understand you have two software platforms used in the early childhood sector?
“Yes, we do. As well as Child Care Central, we also have the leading Child Care Subsidy software for Family Day Care and In-Home Care, Harmony Web,” Stephen said.
“Harmony Web CCS Software is used by thousands of early childhood professionals every day. Just like Child Care Central, our software used by the Family Day Care and In-Home Care sector is flexible, secure and web-based, ready on any device.”
Melissa, in your view what differentiates Child Care Central from other software options in the ECEC software platform space?
“The team supporting our services who use Child Care Central and the software itself makes Child Care Central a great product.”
While anyone can design software, she continued, in order to make a product which is truly fit for purpose, and which exceeds customer needs, “you have to really understand the nuances of the ECEC sector.”
“It’s not just software, Child Care Central is an all-in-one solution to the everyday business needs of managing centre-based care, school-based care, preschool and kindergarten,” she added.
Child Care Central software has everything a service director, coordinator, owner or educator needs – online enrolments, secure parent portal, electronic signatures, educator program and practice linked to the Early Years Learning Framework and My Time Our Place.
As the software is web-based, the Child Care Central team can update with features quickly and have the highest security standards and reconciliation with the Department of Education, with the software able to be used on desktop, tablet or mobile devices.
With so much to offer I can understand why you are now moving into growth mode, is that a fair assessment of your strategic priorities right now?
“Yes absolutely, we are in growth mode right now,” Stephen said.
“The ECEC sector is forever evolving. To remain relevant, our development teams in Brisbane are always looking at best practice and how to make our client’s businesses run more smoothly.,” he added.“Not only do we have great software in Child Care Central, but our Service Admin team works with many childcare businesses across Australia by managing the administration tasks, saving those customers time and money to focus on their core business of caring and educating children.”
And finally, I understand the Child Care Central team will be participating in the ECEC Virtual Forum this week?
“We are indeed. We are looking forward to seeing how the ECEC Innovation Forum 2020 works in the virtual world. It’s a new concept and we wanted to be a part of it. Our Virtual Booth looks great so we hope participants will visit us to learn more about Child Care Central Software,” Melissa said.